Excerpts from the Gazettextra.com:

Come January, an Edgerton native will take the helm of the Janesville Fire Department.

Randall R. Banker, a deputy fire chief at the Batavia Fire Department in Illinois, will replace Jim Jensen, 61, after Jensen retires from a six-year tenure as fire chief. Banker and the city agreed Wednesday to a contract that will pay $105,000 a year. Banker’s start date will be Jan. 5, 2016. He will go from a deputy chief who helped supervise 72 employees in a Chicago suburb of about 26,000 people to the leader of a 93-person department in Janesville, a city more than twice as large.

Banker will arrive about five months before the department unwraps a new, $9 million downtown headquarters that will end the days of cramped and makeshift office spaces. But he will also have to contend with what city and fire officials have said is one of the lowest firefighters-per capita rates in the state.

Janesville will be the third department to employ Banker. He spent his first five years as a firefighter and shift commander in Geneva, Illinois. In 1989, he joined Batavia. He was named battalion chief in 2006 and deputy fire chief in 2012, a position for which he was paid about $126,000, according to his resume. A year after becoming deputy, Banker received a bachelor’s degree in fire science from Columbia Southern University in Alabama.

In Batavia, Banker has also been active outside the department.  He chaired a consortium of eight area fire departments that frequently shared resources, helped create a regional training academy for firefighters, and helped develop a safety program for officers in several fire departments.

Janesville began a national search for Jensen’s replacement in the summer. About 40 individuals applied, which Vick called a shocking tally.

The Police and Fire Commission — a five-person committee that handles hiring, promotion and disciplinary matters for the police and fire departments — narrowed the field down to Banker and four other applicants. Included in that group was Jim Ponkauskas, the deputy chief of emergency medical services in Janesville and a 21-year veteran of the department.

thanks Dan

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